Options assessment report for Sudbury Congestion Relief Scheme published
The options assessment report for the Sudbury congestion Relief Scheme has been published today.
In spring 2018, Suffolk County Council commissioned independent experts from WSP to look at options to relieve traffic congestion in and around Sudbury. Schemes considered included western or southern bypasses, changes to parking and public transport and junction improvements.
The report produced by WSP clearly sets out why the most cost-effective way of relieving traffic in Sudbury is to move forward with a programme to upgrade existing road junctions in Sudbury.
It is estimated that delivery of these improvements would cost in the order of £10million, options will now be explored in more depth to enable funding to be sought for the scheme.
Whilst the option of a building a bypass would provide a lot of benefits to the town, the cost at between £50m-£70m is prohibitively high resulting in a low benefit cost ratio.
Even though this means a bypass is not a feasible at this time, the option of a bypass will remain in the County’s Local Transport Plan and the District’s local plan as an aspiration for Sudbury in the future.
Councillor, Mary Evans, Suffolk County Council cabinet member for highways, transport and rural issues, said:
“This report clearly sets out the options that have been considered to relieve congestion around Sudbury town centre and highlights the reasons why improvements to existing infrastructure are the most cost-effective solution. The option of a bypass was explored in detail, but the low benefit cost ratio means that the council would be unable to secure funding for such a project from any of the very competitive national funding opportunities.
“The county council are dedicated to finding the best solution for Sudbury and I am committed to working closely with Babergh District Council, Sudbury Town Council and other stakeholders to move forward with the junction improvement programme.”
Councillor John Ward, Leader of Babergh District Council said:
“It’s disappointing that the cost benefit ratio for a Sudbury bypass is now much lower, meaning it’s not a viable and affordable option at this time. However, building a bypass remains a firm aspiration as we strongly believe that the benefits will increase quickly as Sudbury grows. A bypass is very much part of Babergh’s Sudbury Vision for Prosperity.
“We are pleased that the study suggested that improvements to traffic flow in the town can be achieved in the short term through changes to key junctions. We will work with Suffolk County Council to prioritise these and take them forward for Sudbury.”
Sudbury Town council said:
“The Town Council is very disappointed that the bypass has been put back to an aspiration but does recognise that due to the funding gap at the present time it is not achievable. So, we are looking forward to working closely with Suffolk County Council, Babergh and Sudbury steering group to deliver much needed traffic improvements to the town.”
The county council will now work with the re-instated Sudbury Steering Group and the officer Sudbury Vision group to identify and develop junction improvements.
The first step will be a workshop in January to establish a list of schemes, these will be developed, following which a forward programme will be developed over the next 6 months.